Last fall, the University of Michigan announced it was hiring 20 “Diversity Peer Educators” to eradicate terms and phrases like “illegal immigrant,” “insane,” and “I want to die,” advertise the school’s Orwellian bystander intervention program, and help address so-called bias incidents, according to The College Fix. But all of these initiatives may soon go bye-bye because a free speech nonprofit called Speech First is suing the school.
Their president Nicki Neily told The Daily Caller News Foundation: “What kind of perverse incentive have you set up?” addressing a system she believes encourages students to sniff out bias where none exists just to keep that slick room and board money. “[The students are] a hammer and everything is a nail at that point.”
Nicki and her group are primarily suing UMich for vague policies that can be arbitrarily applied to quench speech. Like take a look at the school’s definition of harassment:
“Unwanted negative attention perceived as intimidating, demeaning or bothersome to an individual.” Demeaning? Bothersome? Oh so if I find a teacher’s commie rant bothersome I can report her? What if I find this policy demeaning to my intelligence? I mean it’s my perception, after all; who are you to tell me I’m wrong?
And UMich encourages this kind of feeling over fact behavior on its bias response page: “Bias comes in many forms. It can be a hurtful action based on who someone is as a person. The most important indication of bias is your own feelings.” And then they have a dedicated hotline.
Meet The Activists Behind UMich’s BDS Push
According to watchdog group Canary Mission, the University of Michigan’s Students Allied for Freedom and Equality group didn’t just advocate for the school to stop doing business with companies like HP and Boeing that support Israel themselves. This group also brought in outside anti-Israel professionals.
One of the speakers was Sabry Wazwaz, who has said “this is for Palestine, Ramallah, West Bank, Gaza — it’s about time you globalize the intifada, referring to the Palestinian uprisings that cost thousands of Israeli and Palestinian lives. Wazwaz also compared Zionists to Nazis and Palestinians to Jews and attended solidarity rallies for Palestinian terrorist Rasmea Odeh, who masterminded a bombing that murdered two college students.
Still, it’s not as though the divestment resolution actually matters. The UMich administration said “we appreciate hearing from students,” but went on to note that “the university’s longstanding policy is to shield the endowment from political pressures and to base our investment decisions solely on financial factors such as risk and return.” UM’s board of regents was even more blatant, saying it “strongly oppose[d]” the BDS movement.
And I’m pretty sure the student activists knew this position all along. You would think that, if the issue really mattered to them, they’d maybe transfer schools, but of course leftists never did have a good understanding of the free market.
Michigan Students Want BDS While Profs Want DOUBLE Salary
The student senate at the University of Michigan at Flint unanimously voted to “divest from all companies that participate in the unethical violation of Palestinian human rights,” reported The Algemeiner. The resolution passed fairly easily, probably due to the fact that Flint has no Jewish or pro-Israel student organizations.
The Flint student government is excited that student governments at UM Ann Arbor and Dearborn have passed similar initiatives, but doesn’t seem to realize that none of these resolutions actually matter if the school administration simply chooses not to recognize them.
For instance, students at the Ann Arbor campus finally succeeded in passing a divestment resolution last year, after at least ten previous failures. “We appreciate hearing from students,” said the administration, but went on to note that “the university’s longstanding policy is to shield the endowment from political pressures and to base our investment decisions solely on financial factors such as risk and return.” UM’s board of regents was a little more blatant, saying outright it “strongly oppose[d]” the BDS movement.
When it comes to the University of Michigan and money, divestment initiatives aren’t the only strange happenings. Last week, around 1,700 Michigan professors demanded a pay raise that would almost double their starting salaries, threatening to go on strike next week, according to The Daily Caller News Foundation.
Lecturers at the three campuses currently make around $30,000 starting salaries and the union is asking for a $60,000 base at Ann Arbor. If the union strikes on April 9th and 10th, about a third of the classes at Ann Arbor and half of the courses at Flint and Dearborn would be left, well, presumably teacherless. The strike also reportedly violates the union’s contract.
Well, Fitzgerald, it seems like you have three options. Let the students fail, fire the professors, or, hey, maybe you could divert some of the money from that $10 million multicultural center you’re building on campus or initiatives like these anti-Islamophobia self-defense workshops. Just food for thought.
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